Sewing Tutorial Holiday Gift Bags

Holiday pouch bags with pine cones and needles and a red ribbon

Simple DIY Holiday Gift Bag Sewing Tutorial

When the year is almost over you know it’s time to get ready for the holidays!

Having been home most of the year, I’ve been able to spend more time bonding with my dog and throwing together some mean dishes & pastries. I love my savory foods but I have biscuits, cookies, banana bread & pies down!! Yum!

Since I’ve been a bit obsessed with baking goodies (and eating them!) I really wanted to share some of my pecan balls with loved ones this holiday.

I made some cute cloth napkins to accompany them since they’re covered in powdered sugar and can be super messy, but oh so delicious! Hopefully no one wore black when they decided to eat them…

Once I had the napkins made I realized I would need something cute to put them in and I happened to find the perfect fabric for this project at Joanne Fabrics with pines and pinecones and um… bits of glitter (yes, it is craft herpes… but hey, sometimes you just have to go there!)

So in today’s sewing tutorial I’ll show you how to make some super easy reusable holiday gift bags which are great for stocking stuffer size gifts & pastries. They fit my pecan balls & cloth napkins perfectly!

I love that they make a lovely alternative to boxes and wrapping paper. They can be gifted and re-gifted or used for another purpose. Plus, people love handmade gifts and it makes them feel a bit more special when you’ve spent some time creating something for them from scratch.

Are you ready to get this sewing tutorial rolling?

Here are the Materials you’ll Need for your Holiday Gift Bag:

  • 1 yard of fabric with a holiday theme to create 8 gift bags
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors or fabric cutter
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Pins or sewing clips
  • Cutting board
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Ribbon 1/4 to 1/2 inch width (minimum of 12 inches per bag)
  • medium crochet hook
fabric, ruler, ribbon, scissors, clips

The bags we’ll be making in this sewing tutorial are approximately 8 x 8 inches, but you’re certainly welcome to make them smaller or larger as the instructions will work regardless of size. You’ll just have to do a little math to figure out how much fabric & ribbon you’ll need.

Holiday Gift Bags Step 1: Cut Your Fabric to Size

One yard of fabric is approximately 36 x 54 inches (91.44 x 137.16cm). From it you’ll cut out 8 rectangles measuring 10 x 17 inches (25.4 x 43.18cm). Use this layout to make the most of your fabric:

template with measurements and cut lines

The grey areas are extra pieces you won’t be using for this sewing tutorial. They’re great however for making some ribbons for another sewing project so don’t throw them out.

Once your rectangles are cut out, fold them in half (right side out) & iron the crease so we always know where the center is. Each half will be 10 x 8.5 inches (24 x 21.59cm).

By the way, the crease we just made will be one side of the bag and because we haven’t separated the fabric into two pieces we’ll only need to sew together the bottom and other side of the bag together.

But first, we’re going to finish the top, or opening of the bag where our ribbon will call home.

fabric cut into a rectangle

Holiday Gift Bags Step 2: Prep Edge for the Ribbon

Okay, now unfold your fabric, & on one of the long sides fold your fabric over 1/4″ (.635cm) towards the inside, iron & clip (or pin) it down.

edge of fabric clipped

Next, let’s take this to our sewing machine. Sew the folded edge with a zig zag stitch.

Then fold this edge over again but this time make it 1 inch (2.5cm). Iron it down but don’t clip it just yet.

edge with a zig zag stitch

You’ll now need to add a zig zag stitch to the ends where the ribbon with go through, so fold the fabric over 1/4 inch towards the inside, starting on one end next and add a 2″ long zig zag stitch.

Repeat this step on the other end.

1" crease added to edge

Next, we’re going to secure the edges we just stitched so when the ribbon passes through it won’t get worn from rubbing on extra thread and material.

This is an optional step, but I like taking a little extra time to make sure the bag will not fall apart prematurely. Each time the bag is opened or closed the ribbon will be sliding around so the less friction the better.

Fold each sewn edge towards the inside about 1/4 inch. Then clip your folds in place and use a straight stitch to sew them down.

Clipped edges

Next, fold the long side over 1 inch where you made the crease earlier towards the inside. Clip it and use a straight stitch to sew it down to create an opening for your ribbon.

Tip: Add a little extra stitching to the beginning and end of your stitch (at the openings) for a little extra durability.

ribbon slot sewn in

Holiday Gift Bags Step 3: Add Your Ribbon

It’s time to pull your ribbon through. I found that it’s a lot easier to do this now before your bag is folded over and sewn together. It gives you a lot more flexibility as you push things through your opening.

To get your ribbon through, hold the back of your crochet hook and push the hook through one end until it appears at the other end.

Loop one end of your ribbon over the hook & carefully pull it through until it appears on the other side.

crochet hook pulling a red ribbon through the ribbon slot

Holiday Gift Bags Step 4: Sew Edges of Bag Together

Next fold your fabric in half with the design facing each other. The ribbons should meet up at this point. Clip the un-sewn edges together.

If the ribbon gets in the way you can clip it down along the sewn edge.

Fabric folded in half and clipped

We’re now going to stitch the bottom and side together. Be sure you don’t sew over the ribbons or the openings for the ribbon. You’ll want to stop sewing just below that.

Just as we did earlier, use the zig zag stitch first which will help with any unravelling, then add a straight stitch next to it on the inside.

Snip the corners to remove any bit of extra bulk.

Corner of fabric is clipped

Holiday Gift Bags Step 5: Turn Your Bag Right Side Out

You’re done sewing so you can now turn your bag right side out.

Push the corners out with your crochet hook and to make sure your ribbon doesn’t fall out tie a small knot where they meet at the opening.

Give your bags one more ironing so everything looks nice and crisp, and then you’re done! Cute, right?!

several pine cones and pine needles holiday gift bags

Holiday Gift Bags Step 6: Fill Them with Gifts!

There is one last step, of course! And it’s the best part! Fill it with goodies & give them away!

Stuffed holiday gift bag

I hope this sewing tutorial was helpful and easy. You can make these adorable handmade gift bags for any occasion, not just for the winter holidays. You just need to find the right fabric. That’s it!

Earlier, I mentioned that I filled my bags with pecan balls & handmade cloth napkins. I have a sewing tutorial for reusable cloth napkins & while I don’t have a tutorial for pecan balls to accompany this sewing project I’m certain I’ll be making them again soon because they are delicious! It’s not exactly an embroidery or sewing tutorial, but it’s definitely something I would love to share because they are so amazing, and they’re so easy to make. So keep any eye out for a little baking magic in the near future!

Let me know how your bags turn out and if you have any questions or suggestions, just reach out.

If you liked this sewing tutorial please feel free to pin it on Pinterest!

❤️ Happy sewing & happy holidays!

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Holiday gift bags tutorial; bags with pines and pinecones, red ribbon & a white background with a hint of glitter.
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